Zero Nuclear Weapons

Public Forum
November 13 and 14, 2009
Toronto, Canada

Over 20,000 nuclear weapons still exist, many on missiles that could be fired within fifteen minutes. The nuclear weapons states have not fulfilled their commitments to disarm. We are at the tipping point of nuclear proliferation to many countries. Public awareness of this civilization-destroying danger has declined, yet polls show that most citizens in virtually all countries want the world to be rid of these dreadful weapons. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says we are at a critical moment in history. Humanity faces resource limitations, runaway climate change, and catastrophic damage. As governments attempt to manage these changes, social stability will be fragile. There is growing risk that nuclear weapons will be used as a solution to conflict. Humanity cannot be asked to tolerate these life-threatening possibilities. The burden of nuclear weapons must be lifted.

Senior statesmen in at least six countries have called for nuclear weapons abolition. There are new opportunities for nuclear disarmament: the issue has entered the mainstream political agenda. Presidents Obama and Medvedev have agreed to restart reductions and eventually to abolish nuclear weapons. Leaders in other nuclear-armed states are committing themselves to this goal, as they promised in signing the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Of course, there will be many obstacles. No political leader can enact such a bold policy unless public opinion insists on it, so it is time to reinvigorate public awareness and concern. The political process will be lengthy and complex. To keep political will strong, there must be ongoing evidence of support at all levels. Senior government officials from the nuclear weapons states and the non-nuclear-weapons states must propose strategies to overcome obstacles and advance toward Zero Nuclear Weapons. We need to hear from respected analysts of private institutions or academia.

Accordingly, four major Canadian peace organizations are jointly sponsoring a public forum: the Canadian Pugwash Group, Science for Peace, Physicians for Global Survival, and Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.

The purpose of the forum is to help citizens understand the urgent need to push for the abolition of nuclear weapons, in light of the hopeful climate and the means for achieving it.

The complete forum agenda is available on the agenda page.

For further information, contact Professor Metta Spencer, Forum Coordinator:, or 416-789-2294.